Re: [Marxism] Can Zimbabwe Become Africa’s Cuba? by Mukoma Ngugi
Jscotlive at aol.com
Jscotlive at aol.com
Mon Nov 7 12:17:37 MST 2005
As widely predicted by commentators, Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF swept the boards
in Zimbabwe's recent parliamentary elections (held on Thursday, 31 March). In
the weeks and days leading up to the elections a veritable deluge of vitriol
and condemnation was leveled against Mugabe, confirming his status as
international pariah and one he shares with the likes of Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam
Hussein, Kim Jung Il, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, the Palestinian people in their
entirety, Iran; in short anyone who dares offer resistance to the world order
as determined by plutocrats in Washington, D.C.
Mugabe has held power in Zimbabwe since the nation gained its "independence"
from the former white supremacist, apartheid state of Rhodesia in 1980, but
it's only been in the last 6 years or so that he's fallen foul of the
representatives of international capital in Washington, London and Brussels. Charges of
imprisonment without trial, torture, voter intimidation and even the control
of scarce food supplies to starve his opponents and their supporters into
submission have been made against the incumbent regime.
Even on the Left, voices have been raised to the point of crescendo in
condemnation and vilification of Mugabe's regime, as they were against Milosevic's
in the former Yugoslavia, before its breakup, as they've always been against
the Cuban Revolution, and as they were against Saddam Hussein's in Iraq in
advance of a war and occupation which, to date, has accounted for some 100,000
Iraqi lives, has ushered in material poverty of an extreme previously unheard of
in that country, and has completely destroyed any vestige of infrastructure or
But, as in the case of the aforementioned regimes, is Robert Mugabe's crime
that he refuses to allow fair elections and rules with an iron fist, as the
spokesmen for international capital would have us believe? Or is it in truth
that, with a series of controversial land expropriations, he's dared to attempt
the redistribution of wealth from a privileged elite (in Zimbabwe's case a white
elite) to millions of landless peasants, many of whom fought in the country's
protracted and righteous struggle for independence and the overthrow of the
previous neo-colonial state of Rhodesia, in which, as with South Africa, racism
had been institutionalized and enshrined in law?
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the West's relationship with Mugabe wasn't always
this way. Indeed, back in 1980, a veritable honeymoon period followed the
Lancaster House negotiations, during which the incipient nation's constitution was
written (Zimbabwe's constitution being written in consultation with its former
colonial masters). One of the most important provisions in that constitution,
at least from the point of view of the white farmers and businessmen
determined to retain control of the nation's wealth, was the one stipulating that the
British government would compensate any white farmer for his land only in those
cases where he agreed to sell to the new regime, thus effectively blocking
any plans to institute measures of social or economic justice in a nation in
which the very opposite prevailed. At the time, and still to this day, over 70
percent of the most arable land was owned by the white minority, a transplanted
ascendancy much like the Loyalist ascendancy which obtains to this day in the
occupied six counties of Ireland, and the Zionist ascendancy in the occupied
territories of Palestine.
Initially, Robert Mugabe proved a faithful servant to the interests of
international capital; and just like every other former colonial possession in that
tortured and long-pillaged continent, he duly accepted IMF structural
adjustments as a precondition of desperately needed capital loans and investment. The
poverty wrought by this savage neo-colonialist control reached a nadir in the
1990s, by which time the Zimbabwean economy had been reduced to tatters and
allegations of state and private corruption being made against the regime by a
coalition of trade unionists, students, clergymen, and others, led directly to
the formation of the opposition MDC in September 2000.
However, lest anyone be under the impression that the alternative offered by
the opposition be an improvement on the current state of affairs, let the
words of the MDC's economic spokesman, Eddie Cross, spoken in advance of
Zimbabwe's 2000 parliamentary elections, leave them under no illusion.
> We are going to fast track privatization. All fifty government parastatals
> (a government-owned company or agency) will be privatized within a two year
> time frame, but we are going far beyond that. We are going to privatize many
> of the functions of government. We are going to privatize the Central
> Statistical Office. We are going to privatize virtually the entire school delivery
> system. And you know, we have looked at the numbers and we think we can get
> government employment down from about 300,000 at the present time to about
> 75,000 in five years.
Mugabe, responding to the threat posed by this new opposition back in 2000,
unleashed the expropriations and confiscations that have so attracted the fury
of governments and free market demagogues in the West. His motivation for
doing so undoubtedly had its roots in opportunism, being nothing less than a
desperate measure designed to maintain and solidify his grasp on power. However,
that in no way diminishes the justice of such expropriations, which in a very
real sense have involved the expropriating of the expropriators.
In short, Mugabe's real crime, as will be judged by history, was not one
committed against the white privileged minority with land expropriations, it was
the crime committed against the Zimbabwean people back in 1980 with the passing
of control of Zimbabwe's economy to the IMF and the World Bank, thus ensuring
the continuance of a legacy of exploitation and pillage begun by Cecil Rhodes
in the 19th century, and subsequently carried on with vigor by successive
British governments thereafter.
Indeed, the entire history of Africa is written in the architectural splendor
of European capitals, monuments and palaces paid for in the blood of millions
of African men, women and children, either forced to work extracting the
wealth of the most resource rich continent on the planet, or sold into slavery, at
the behest of that breed of savage gentlemen colonizer whose exploits
throughout the African continent have accounted for more innocent lives than Hitler
and Genghis Khan combined.
This is the reality of Africa, one which all the insincere platitudes about
the crisis of debt in that continent cannot refute.
Rather than be vilified for undertaking the expropriation of land and the
confiscation of farms belonging to supporters of the former colonial regime,
Mugabe should in fact be vilified for not allowing more expropriations,
repudiating the debt and confiscating the industry and businesses in Zimbabwe that
continue to be owned and controlled by foreign interests and corporations.
As a bourgeois nationalist, and with a monstrous track record on human rights
with respect to gays in particular, he is clearly not up to the task. It is
to be hoped, however, that the consciousness instilled in the Zimbabwean people
as a result of the expropriations that have taken place thus far has equipped
them to continue a process which constitutes the only way forward, not only
for Zimbabwe but for the entire developing world.
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